Woolf, “Mrs Dalloway” – Feeling Invisible

“She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway” (10).

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. 1925. Harcourt Inc, 2005.

Clarissa is deindividuated and powerless as “Mrs. Richard Dalloway.” The only fulfilling or interesting parts of her life, finding a husband and having children, are now gone. She has lost any sense of personal identity that comes with her first name, undertaking her husband’s full name instead.

Mrs. Dalloway #1

“But often now this body she wore (she stopped to look at a Dutch picture), this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing — nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway” (Woolf 35).

Mrs. Dalloway as a character reminds me a bit of Miss Brill, from the short story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield (though without the self-delusion). She seems to lose herself to her thoughts, both those of the past and the present, and suggests that she finds diversity and vitality in her life by walking about and observing people.

 

Woolf, Virginia. Everyman’s Library. Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

eISBN: 978-0-307-55807-7